Late goal gives QPR victory as ’67 heroes are honoured

QPR 2 Cardiff City 1

A late goal gave QPR victory on the day the club marked the 50th anniversary of their 1967 League Cup triumph.

Sol Bamba headed the visitors into the lead from Craig Noone’s corner a minute before half-time.

But Rangers equalised on 62 minutes, when a slick move culminated in Jamie Mackie slotting the ball through to substitute Yeni Ngbakoto, who blasted past keeper Allan McGregor.

And with seven minutes remaining, Jazz Richards diverted the ball into his own net after Ngbakoto’s corner had been met by the head of Matt Smith.

It meant a losing return to Loftus Road for former QPR boss Neil Warnock and a third win in four matches for Rangers, who wore a special-edition all white kit in honour of the one worn by Alec Stock’s Wembley winners.

Stock’s Rangers team, then in the Third Division, famously came back from two down against top-flight West Brom to win 3-2 and sensationally clinch what remains QPR’s only major trophy.

This was hardly a comeback to match that achievement, but it underlined Rangers’ recent improvement under Ian Holloway.

They had plenty of possession in the first half and almost went ahead when Conor Washington hit the post.

Striker Washington, who had scored four goals in his previous six appearances, collected Smith’s flick-on and evaded former R’s defender Matt Connolly but saw his left-footed shot come back off the woodwork.

Cardiff barely threatened before keeper Alex Smithies produced a superb save after Joe Ralls’ shot took a deflection off QPR skipper Nedum Onuoha.

City scored from the resulting corner. Noone served up the perfect delivery from the left and centre-back Bamba rose to head Warnock’s side into the lead.

Cardiff made a strong start to the second half, appealing in vain for a penalty after Jake Bidwell appeared to tug Noone’s shirt, and then almost doubling their lead when Kenneth Zohore’s shot was cleared off the line by Joel Lynch.

With his team struggling, Holloway made an attacking change, replacing midfielder Sean Goss, who was making his full debut, with French winger Ngbakoto.

The switch paid off emphatically, with Rangers levelling five minutes later courtesy of Ngbakoto’s third goal of the season.

Ngbakoto then almost went one better, forcing a save from McGregor with a fiercely struck free-kick.

It was only a temporary reprieve for Cardiff, who failed to deal with Ngbakoto’s corner and were punished by the in-form Smith.

QPR: Smithies, Perch, Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell, Hall, Goss (Ngbakoto 57), Luongo (Morrison 75), Mackie (Wszolek 81), Smith, Washington.
Subs not used: Ingram, Furlong, Manning, Sylla.